A dramatic call to break the silence and end the cruel prison conditions imposed by the regime of Daniel Ortega.
HAVANA TIMES – Families of Nicaragua’s prisoners of conscience and human rights advocates have confirmed that 23 political prisoners have begun a hunger strike: three in the El Chipote jail and 20 in the Modelo prison. These prisoners are risking their own worsening health to demand the suspension of the policy of isolation and other cruel conditions imposed for over a year by the former political prisoner Daniel Ortega.
This is an extreme protest measure that would never have been necessary if the prison system were open to inspection and verification by the national and international human rights organizations. But the El Chipote jail – technically a temporary holding center for cases under investigation – in practice has become a permanent jail where torture is common. It has remained closed off to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Red Cross, and the UN Commission of Independent Experts. The political prisoners in El Chipote only have the rightto a two-hour family visit every 45 days; they’re denied a balanced diet, as well as specialized medical attention; and they’re not permitted books, pencils, or notebooks, so they could read or write.
Hence, the hunger strike the political prisoners have undertaken is a last resort, is a wake-up call to the national conscience and the international community to reject the normalization of this torture. Demanding that the jails be opened to international scrutiny is the first step in overturning a jail system that symbolizes the cruelty and dehumanization of the dictatorial couple. Their absolute power, based on the force of their repression, leaves their thirst for vengeance, their fear of freedom and their moral decrepitude with no limits.
Dora Maria Tellez is 66, one of